UPDATED: Get Out the Vote (GOTV) – Ann Arbor-style


That’s the way it’s done, kids

In downtown Ann Arbor, tucked into Braun Court in Kerrytown, sits one of two area offices for the Obama campaign. We’re right across from the Farmer’s Market and surrounded by some of the coolest stores and eateries in the city, so we get a lot of foot traffic going by while we do our work to get out the vote (GOTV) for President Obama, Democrats in general and the variety of ballot proposals that Michiganders have to vote on this year.

The Kerrytown office is one of several GOTV staging locations in Washtenaw County and we are surpassing our goals on all fronts.

As folks come into our office, they are immediately greeted by one of our intrepid volunteers. “Are you here to canvass or phonebank?” they are quickly asked.

Often the response is, “Neither, actually. I was just walking by and thought I stop in to see what was going on. Can I get a yard sign?”

“Yes, you can!” is the standard response. “All you have to do is volunteer for a two-hour shift making calls or knocking on doors. Would you like to do it now or come back later?”

Yeah, we have signs. But you have to earn them!

How effective is our little office? This past weekend, for our second dry run before the final GOTV weekend, we had over 70 people canvassing, knocked close to 2,000 doors and made even more phone calls.

That’s just one of three staging locations in our area and that’s just practicing. Next weekend, we get serious.

Here’s what our phonebanking area looks like.

President Obama keeps an eye on Kerrytown phonebankers

While we were working yesterday, Dean of the House Congressman John Dingell and his wife Debbie stopped by to cheer on our volunteers.

l-r, Office Manager Jeanette, Phonebank Captain Randy, Congressman Dingell, Deputy Canvass Coordinator Jennifer and two Ann Arbor volunteers

We’ve had some fun stories over the past couple of weeks. One person our office manager Jeanette talked to during a volunteer recruitment call said, “Hmmm… let me check my schedule. I’m pretty sure I have some free time after Thanksgiving.” [facepalm]

Saturday night we were finishing up cleaning up our canvass packs and getting ready for Sunday morning when a young couple stopped by. “Can we help you?” they were asked? “Would you like to sign up to volunteer?”

“No,” they said. “But we saw you working late so we brought you Bunny Grahams. Thanks for all you are doing.” And, with that, they left us a box of tasty snacks, waved and walked off into the night, leaving us all grinning and laughing (and snacking.)

This is how it is done. This is how you fight back against money and negative ads and lies and lies and lies. Person-to-person contact with your neighbors, making sure they are planning to vote and that they have the facts on President Obama’s accomplishments and about Democrats up and down the ticket.

From now until Election Day, we’re going to contact as many Democrats as we can identify to urge them to vote. On Election Day itself, we will chase down each and every one of those votes, even if we have to knock on people’s doors twice or even three times. Democrats have the numbers but sometimes they just need that extra nudge to get to the polls and OFA is providing that nudge like you’ve never seen.

Next weekend is it, folks. It’s time to stop talking about the polls and the lies. It’s time to GOTV. Contact your local OFA office and find out how YOU can get involved. Vote early, take a vacation day on November 6th, and help us crank up Democratic turnout to “11”. Need to find your local office? Click HERE.

Fired up and ready to go!

P.S. If you are in Michigan, don’t forget to share the Eclectablog 2012 Voters Guide with everyone you know. You can find it HERE.

UPDATE: The importance of our volunteer GOTV effort grew this morning with this announcement from the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney:

Statement by the Press Secretary on Additional Changes to the President’s Travel Today

Due to deteriorating weather conditions in the Washington, DC area, the President will not attend today’s campaign event in Orlando, Florida. The President will return to the White House to monitor the preparations for and early response to Hurricane Sandy.

And then, just a short time ago, this one, as well:

Statement from the Press Secretary on the President’s Tuesday Schedule

The President will no longer travel to Green Bay, WI tomorrow for a campaign event, so that he can stay in Washington, DC on Tuesday and closely monitor the impact of and response to Hurricane Sandy. As he said at FEMA HQ yesterday, the President has instructed his team to make sure that needed federal resources are in place to support state and local recovery efforts. Additional details about the President’s schedule will be announced as soon as they are available.

President Obama is going to be a bit busy this week, doing his job and making sure that our East Coast friends are getting all the support they need as Hurricane Sandy batters them. While he’s busy and kept from campaigning, we need to take up the slack.